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Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand — The Metal Man,
The Mother of Wood and The Yellow Wife.

Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand have different sets of names and each set of names has it`s own symbolism. One set of Chinese names is Sun Wukong (孙悟空 - Monkey awakened to emptiness), Zhu Wuneng (猪悟能 - Pig awakened to ability) and Sha Wuching (沙悟净 - sand awakened to purtity). These names symbolizes that they all have a primordial (先天) origin.

Monkey, Pig and Friar Sand, by Chen Huiguan.

His (Sun Wukong) primordial body matches an earlier heaven (先天). -- Journey to the West, chapter 7
As he (Zhu Wuneng) was placed in the wrong womb he has a face like a wild boar, but he's still kept his original divine nature.
-- Journey to the West, chapter 19
I (Sha Wuching) have had a divine essence since childhood. -- Journey to the West, chapter 22

The primordial or precelestial domain (先天 - xiantian, lit. before Heaven) is the eternal and omnipresent original state of Oneness, which exists outside of space and time. This primordial domain is the state of conscious awareness in man; it is yang, it is the light of consciousness. The postcelestial domain (后天 - houtian, lit. after Heaven) is distinguished by multiplicity and relativity; it is the state that features transitory events and phenomena that exist within space and time. The postcelestial domain in man is the state when a man is pre-occupied with his thoughts and emotions, his sense of right and wrong, his desires, his plans, his ambitions, without any self-awareness: it is yin, it is a state of internal darkness.

Sun Wukong, Zhu Wuneng (and Sha Wuching) have also names that originate in Taoist Alchemy.

The Mother of Wood Lends His Might in Defeating the Ogre,
The Metal Lord Uses His Magic to Wipe Out the Monster.
-- Journey to the West, chapter 86
Monkey and Pig go looking for the demon` s cave. “Strike, Pig,” says Monkey when they find it. “This is where the evil spirit lives. The master must be here.” At this the idiot turns vicious, raises his rake, and brings it down on the gates with all his strength, smashing a big hole in them and shouting, “Ogre, send my master out at once if you don't want me to smash your gates down and finish the lot of you off.” After fighting for thirty rounds, the splendid Great Sage turns himself into a winged ant and flies into the main hall, where he sees the junior devils jostling and shouting. He pulls out a handful of hairs, chews them up into little pieces, blows them lightly out of his mouth and silently recites the words of the spell that turns all the pieces into sleep insects. These he throws into the faces of all the devils, and the insects crawl up their noses, gradually making the devils feel sleepy. He sees a very tiny doorway and squeezes through the narrow gap between the doors and finds himself in a big garden. Flying further inside he sees a clump of tall trees at the foot of which were tied Tang Priest. “Untie me quick, disciple,” the venerable elder says. “Being roped up like this has been agony. -- Journey to the West, chapter 86

From the title of chapter 86 and the events in it, we understand that Pig represents ‘The Mother of Wood’ and Monkey ‘The Metal Man’, which is cleary stated elswhere.

Wood grows in the nor'nor'west and is matched with a pig;
Metal was born in West sou'west and was an ape,

-- Journey to the West, chapter 30

The Wedjat Eye

Monkey is the Metal within Water ☵, the true yang principle external to one's self. Belonging to the category of life (性–xing) lord of hardness and motion, he signifies the primal breath of all living creature. -- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Journey to the West
Pig is the Wood within the Fire ☲, the true yin principle internal to one's self. Belonging to the category of essence (命–ming), lord of pliancy and quiescence, but he can only change into substance that is posterior to Heaven (后天 - houtian) and not the true treasure that is primordial (先天 - xiantian). -- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Journey to the West

Pig is the only one of the three who had a 'natural' birth from a womb. As a result, he has strong desires of the flesh and because he isn`t able to completely overcome them, at the end of the story he doesn`t become an immortal, which means he isn`t able to return to the primordial realm, but is rewarded with the job of 'cleansing the altars'.

The lead of real awareness, sense, is associated with metal; the mercury of conscious awareness, essence, is associated with wood. When you do things on the basis of acquired conditioning, sense and essence are disparate; this is likened to metal and wood being separated, each keeping to itself, unable to meet. Unless sense and essence commune, true sense and true essence do not manifest, and real awareness and conscious awareness do not combine. -- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Understanding Reality

Real awareness is unfiltered awareness, not clouded by opinions and attitudes and contains self-awareness and awareness of the moment one is in. Without the mind of Tao, without real awareness, conscious awareness has no choice but to become adultered and becomes everyday awareness of ordinary life, formed by training and experience and does not include self-awareness or awareness of the moment.

Bodhisattva Guan Yin holding the Sun and the Moon

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face. -- The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:12
When real awareness and conscious awareness meet, it is like the sun and moon meeting in thirty days. -- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Understanding Reality

The Dance of Death, The Munster of Bern, Switzerland,

Monkey and Pig often have problems with each other. When they don`t get along, or when they are separated because of difficulties, it means that Metal and Wood are separate and the true nature is lost; this represents the usual, every day state of man.

The Metal Man and the Mother of Wood were dispersed.
The Yellow Wife was damaged, her powers divided,
The Way was finished, and how could it be saved?
-- Journey to the West, chapter 30

The Yellow Wife is another symbol from Taoist Alchemy and is represented by Sha Wuching.

Venus von Willendorf,the Mother Goddes or Earth Mother, representing True Intent (24,000–22,000 BCE)

The Egyptian goddess Hathor, also called 'The Great Cosmic Mother'

The yellow woman is the earth mother in the center, called the yellow woman because it can harmonize yin and yang and can combine the four forms. The alchemical treatises use this to symbolize the true faith within the true intent in people, which can harmonize essence and sense, and nurture vitality and energy. True intent and true faith are the yellow woman in our being. -- Liu Yiming, The Inner Teachings of Taoism
Spiritual alchemy, the science of the gold elixir, uses the yellow woman as the go-between for yin and yang. The yellow woman is true intent; faithfulness in the center is truthfulness in the center — truthfulness is associated with earth, which is called the yellow woman . - - Liu Yiming, Hexagram #61, Faithfulness in the Center, The Taoist I Ching

The Yellow Woman can be found in all esoteric traditions and is called the Earth Mother, the Mother Goddes and Mother Pranjaparamita.

She is the one who shows this world for what it is, she is the genetrix, the mother of the Buddhas.
-- Prajnaparamita sutra (Buddhist text)
Once true Earth appears, Metal and Wood spontaneously join; once genuine truthfulness comes through, essence and sense spontaneously unite. So genuine truthfulness is the go — between of true sense (emotions情) and true essence(性). When essence and sense unite, real awareness and conscious awareness are the same energy, they embrace and nurture each other; the essence is stabilized, feelings are forgotten, and the primordial energy comes from nothingness.-- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Understanding Reality

The names Sun Wukong, Zhu Wuneng and Sha Wuching represent the three great medicines or three jewels, that entered the post celestial domain to enable one to return to the precelestial domain.

These jewels gathered in the three fields are like the "three terraces," the three stars that surround the star representing the Lord of the Heavens. These three fields do not refer to the perineum, center of the torso, or center of the brain, nor to the umbilical region, solar plexus, or center of the brow, or to the coccyx, center of the spine, or back of the brain; they are the places where the three great medicines—primordial vitality, primordial energy, and primordial spirit are produced. -- Liu Yiming, Commentary on Understanding Reality

In Taoist Alchemy these three jewels have differents sets of symbols. One set of symbols is The Metal Man, The Mother of Wood and The Yellow Wife and, as can be seen by the names, are represented by the elements Metal, Wood and Earth.

In order for real awareness and conscious awareness, Metal and Wood, or sense and essence to meet, Earth is needed.

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